'I chose the Road less Travelled, and now I don't know where the hell i am.'
(Print of the quote available on Etsy here).
A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning and it's so exactly where I am right now. Where I've been for a while. So maybe putting words out into the universe will help me find the direction that's proving to be so elusive at the moment.
Maybe it's the midlife thing. The questioning all life decisions made ... wondering about paths taken, and not. I know it's important to leave the past behind and to look forward. I read all the quotes on Facebook every day. About positive energy and accepting one's mistakes and choices and making peace with the past (And the funniest dog videos. Which I'm not sure why they are shared. I ignore those). There are beautiful mantras about living life to the full, being at peace, striving for ones' dreams. There are adverts for soulful retreats and rekindling your creative passion and finding your true calling and so the list goes. I'm tempted by some of them. If only it were that easy ... take a course and everything will fall into place. I've signed up for Beth's online 'Do What you Love' course in January, so i'm not a total cynic and I'm holding onto that spark of hope ! I met Beth 5 years ago just after Lexi had been born, when I was just emerging from months of bed rest and baby focus to remember the big wide world out there. We took an online creative business course together and she has just flown. I remember meeting her for lunch one sunny afternoon in Hoboken and being so amazed by her life story, her drive, her vision. Her business has grown from strength to strength. So maybe I'll find some answers ... maybe she'll help me ask the right questions.
It's not the first time I've been in transition. That place in between what was, and what is yet to come. Only not always knowing what's around the corner, feeling worried and uncertain and wondering what's to come. If anything is waiting. Maybe that's the biggest fear - that the best is behind me and there's nothing more there. I remember struggling to choose where to study - tossing two completely different lives from hand to hand, wondering how on earth I was meant to pick one of them to follow. Choosing to leave to travel, and how difficult that was. London. New York. Marriage. Jobs. Studies. Children.
The past 8 years have been about settling us in a new country which is no longer new and is now home. It's been about building family and putting down roots and making friends and losing some along the way. It's been about finding the place we think will be good for raising our munchkins, somewhere with space and room to run. It's also meant hard choices and sacrifices and lately, I've realized it's meant a lot more loneliness - out here in the country. Also feeling cut off from old friends and old lives, and from two other countries which also hold people that I love.
Now that Lexi is in school full time i'm in transition again. I know a shift is coming. I hope a shift is coming. At first i welcomed the free time and the hours of peace and quiet. But I find myself running errands and cleaning floors and day after day has begun to feel the same. I'm restless and a little sad and very lost about where to go next.
Erika Jong said (and I'm quoting loosely here) that you cannot write a book and have a clean kitchen. You can't be a writer and bake home made pies. The idea that domestic bliss leaves little time for creative pursuits for a woman. I agree wholeheartedly and I know it comes down to carving out time for what's important. But here's the thing she didn't say ... that it's easier to clean a kitchen and bake home made pies than to write a book. And that's exactly where i'm at. Right now, I'm keeping busy with the floors and pretending that's enough. Even though I know it's not.
I lose the days and myself a little with them in the day to day of keeping home and taking care of a family. I'm aware of it. Completely. I watch my friends and ex-colleagues change jobs and move up the ladder that I used to climb with them. I celebrate as they open their own businesses and sell beautiful paintings, as they grow their galleries and teach and buy new houses. I wave them goodbye on their travels and congratulate them on their PHD's. I glow with pride at their interviews and published work. I watch them find their paths, their life's work, and I jump up and down with joy for them. I'm genuinely happy. For all of them. But I feel just as lost as I was at 18 and then again after university, and a few times along the way, and I wonder when my passion will find me. What my life work is. If I will ever find it. Or has it been there all along and me just not paying attention ?
I don't have a funny quote to end my self-focused post with today ... there's no quick comeback or easy solution. I guess the reason I wanted to share this today is that I know i'm not the only one ... sometimes it takes time to find our feet, to find new paths when the old ones come to an end. I've learnt the hard way that important decisions should not be rushed or made in a panic. That way only leads to chaos and heartache. It's important to take time, to listen to the voice inside, to give the heart time to speak. Because it sometimes only whispers and we have to silence the world in order to hear. To summon courage for a new start.
So till then, i'll be here, sweeping my floors and baking my pies and waiting for the answers to come. And hoping that it's true that a little faith goes a long way.